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Christmas Eve’s “No First Drink” Recovery
Meeting. The reek of Pall Mall in the air.

Don’t talk now. Don’t stand out. Not of Gyumri.
Not of dead orphans. Not of the nightmare

that haunts you from Nagorno-Karabakh.
Everyone here carries their own horrors.

Right now just listen, just be present. Black
humor, Lilith’s mercy, depraved lovers

kept you, if not lucid, at least sober …
but not tonight. You woke. You sit and grieve,

nod and listen. You love these survivors.
You love everyone but yourself. No prayer

will heal what you conceal under your sleeve,
under your burn scar, your broken knuckle.